The Falconer

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Excessive use of executive orders is worrisome

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Since Donald Trump took office in January, critics of the president have repeatedly likened him to infamous fascist leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, which, despite being apathetic appropriations of historical tragedies, may yet have some analogous value. It is not his proclivity for rallying his supporters using emotional appeal and hate speech, his antagonization of the press or even his tendency towards narcissistic behavior that I beg we draw attention to, however; these things have been covered so thoroughly on social media and even by some news outlets that it is now hardly a shocking proposition. It is President Trump’s consistent circumvention of Congress through the use of executive orders that has not received its due attention.

While his actions are perfectly legal, overuse of executive orders undermines the system of checks and balances put in place centuries ago to wrest from the grip of individuals a dangerous level of authority over the nation. The executive order is an important tool that allows the White House to exact results more quickly than if the order were to pass through Congress when swift action is called for, and it is an integral power of the president. Such was the case when, in 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into their newly desegregated high school, but a power as great and direct as this can just as easily serve a less benevolent agenda as well. Take, for example, executive order 9066, issued by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the midst of World War II, which allowed for the forced relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. In the former situation, quick action was imperative to preserving the safety of the students and to the success of the school’s integration, and in the latter, Roosevelt’s decision led to the effective imprisonment of more than one-hundred thousand innocent Americans.

In Trump’s first one hundred days in office, he issued a total of 31 executive orders, only three fewer than Obama averaged per year. Contrary to his pen-happy hand, President Trump tweeted in 2012 “Why is @BarackObama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?” displaying yet again his signature hypocrisy. Not only does Trump make a habit of bypassing Congress, but he directly abused the power as well when, in January of 2017, he signed an executive order banning the entry of refugees, tourists and citizens alike into the United States from some Middle Eastern countries. This move by the president led to a wave of public outrage, and not all of the United States’ legislators were pleased either. “It is the job of Congress, not the president, to make legal reforms to our immigration policies,” U.S. Republican Representative Stevan Pearce said of Trump’s ban.

Although executive orders are not all-powerful, Trump’s exploitation of them exposes his disregard for the system currently in place within the United States government. Perhaps his life as a businessman has made him a bit too familiar with being in charge in an environment where his employees must bend to his will, but the United States is not just another company he can drive to bankruptcy.

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Excessive use of executive orders is worrisome